I get pretty nervous right before a gig, that hour or so when I’m doing the set up.

A healthy kind of nervous, but nervous all the same. 

Here are my tried and tested tips for calming those nerves and getting into the flow.

1. Don’t try to ignore or fight your nerves. They’re simply a sign that you care and that’s a good thing.

2. Focus on doing one thing at a time. I always make sure delegates have somewhere to sit outside the room in advance of the start time so that I’m not trying to hang paper and welcome people at the same time. 

3. Use the cortices technique for calming your nervous system.

4. Slow inhales and exhales (one hand on the heart, one on the belly) also help.

5. Remember you are holding the space, you are leading the direction of the group. A good actor friend of mine advised that I open my arms out wide as if to hold the room whilst breathing deeply and saying to yourself ‘This is my space, this is my place’ (I also add ‘This is my face’ but I think that’s because I misheard her instructions.)

6. Facilitation is about connection. Take a tip from the Tibetan Shambala Warriors who used a principle called ‘rising sun’ – this allowed them to see the good in everyone, even their opponents.
When people enter the room imagine the rising sun coming up from their chest emanating their goodness and receptivity. (with thanks to David Sibbet).

What ritual do you have to calm your nerves before a facilitation gig?

Please share in the comments below